Walking Dead executive producer Gale Anne Hurd along with series star Andrew Lincoln recently chatted with press about Season 3 and where they’re headed next. From what almost seems to be the loss of Rick’s humanity to the new darker sets for Season 3, both Herd and Lincoln gave us as many details as they could! Check out the interview below!
Rick was apprehensive to kill zombies in Season 1, which sort of continued into Season 2, and then he got a little – it became a little easier for him. And Season 2 ends with him killing Shane. Now in light of what he did last episode with the hatchet to that prisoner could you update us on where – the state of Rick’s humanity at the moment?
Andrew Lincoln: Yeah, I mean, I think his humanity is pretty intact but I think his ruthlessness or his decision making has very much moved into a Shane point of view. I think that his – it’s such a – we obviously meet this gang at such a desperate and low act in their story, in Episode 1, with the dog food, that they’re pushed into this position to take something that is probably, in any other circumstances, would have been a death wish, (in) prisons.
And I think that, you know, there is an uncompromising nature that I think has happened over time to Rick. And also I think that the other thing to bear in mind is that he is the most isolated, I think, even within his group and in his relationship with everybody in the group, especially his wife.
So I don’t think he is in the most stable. Certainly when I was playing it I wanted it to be an instantaneous almost Pavolvian reaction to this situation, which in Season 1 and Season 2 certainly I think he wouldn’t have been so quick to make that judgment call.
So he’s just sort of in the mindset I’ll have – I have to do anything I can to protect these people at any cost?
Andrew Lincoln: I think it is – and that’s one of the beautiful things; that’s one of the joys of playing Rick is that it’s not – you know, the moral ambiguity in the show is the most interesting part I think, for me, certainly as an actor because in any other world, in any other situation that wasn’t, you know, hell, you wouldn’t make these judgment calls or you wouldn’t be pushed into this corner to make these calls.
With the flash forward in time that we’ve had from last season, did the cast or you as the show runner make up kind of the stories and tales that we didn’t get to see in that like about seven-month period in between seasons? What happened to these guys inbetween that time?
Gale Anne Hurd: Sure, I mean, well the first thing is that, you know, obviously a lot of thought was put into each and every character and what they were enduring, how they were handling that intervening time. You know, I don’t think an entire dossier was created by the writer’s room. And I’m sure that each actor had a different approach for their own character.
But, you know, we generally – and this is not a hard and fast rule – but we generally try not to do a lot of flashbacks in the show. At the same time, you know, we hold out the right to do that if we feel that it’s illuminating and it’s important so that may happen but it is not one of the – it’s not typical of the current show.
Well I was curious with Andrew because your character and Lori seem to have become even more splintered since last season. How did you approach that? In your eyes, what do you think happened between then and now?
Andrew Lincoln: Well, yeah, I mean, like Gale just said it’s very much down to the discretion of the actor playing the part. But certainly Sarah and I spoke at length and also with Chandler and we – everybody came around to my house and we had dinner and we just talked through what had happened and just so we’re all on the same page.
There was little things – the other thing – with the whole season is obviously after (Katiza) is us in a convoy with the cars and we’re looking at a map and we’ve just escaped again and we’re on the run.
And I was very keen to sort of set up a ritual that we’d worked out, you know, in those intervening months. Like I would – the convoy starts – Daryl is the person that chooses the place that’s safe. I get out. I pace 15 steps and my son joins me, because he’s the youngest and he’s got the best ears and the best eyesight, and he counts because we don’t have any – so he counts and I just say 15, no more, so it’s 15 minutes is what we’ve got.
Emily, who’s the second youngest she goes to the back because she’s got the best eyes and ears. And I just wanted little things like that that we developed over time. I think it was very keen – we spoke about being at the fireside and that Sarah – Lori confessed publicly about what had happened just because that’s the only way we survive.
And as soon as that happened the kid – Chandler sided with his dad. And then the last time we touched we made a decision was the time she held me and then I confessed to murdering my best friend.
So, yeah, I mean, as an actor it’s my job to fill in the gaps and fill in the spaces and that’s the fascination.
The physical parts of this season in comparison to the second season, the first two episodes seem like they’re more physically demanding. Gale, I was wondering if you could tell me about some of the challenges that these physical scenes present maybe from a filming standpoint? And Andrew, I was wondering if you enjoy the break that killing zombies or humans provide for some – against some of the more intense character scenes.
Gale Anne Hurd: Well first of all obviously this season is, as we call it, intense and pedal to the metal. The world is infested with more zombies; that’s really not a surprise. And, you know, and there’s more risk to our survivors now that they’ve left the farm.
And so two things come into play. The first is that we have a very large ensemble cast and there are scenes this season in which they work together as a unit as we’ve seen both in the first episode and the second episode. And that requires a lot of – a lot of choreography of the stunt work. And unlike a lot of TV shows as, you know, Andy can attest to this our cast, you know, they’re not doubled; it’s really very, very, very infrequent that they’re doubled.
And, you know, so it’s very careful work. They’re working with Russell Towery, who’s our stunt coordinator. And, you know, and on a TV series you don’t have a lot of time. So it’s intense. We try to make it as safe as possible, you know, but it’s, you know, it’s physically incredibly demanding.
And, you know, because even with shooting with multiple cameras, you know, we still have to do a number of takes. And, you know, it’s – and each performance in these action sequences, as you can also see from watching the series, is connected.
So, you know, often some of these sequences, unlike in a lot of films that I’ve done were you isolate, you know, a particular action beat, these often run rather continuously which is even more demanding and the bar’s even higher.
Andrew Lincoln: Yeah, I think that that’s a very descriptive – that’s exactly what it’s like. We have multiple cameras. We play out scenes and go into fight sequences and then continue. So we try and make it as fluid as possible, which gives it the energy and certainly helps the playing with the scenes as well either side of it.
A lot of preparation is the physical – to me is the physical preparation. And it is sort of a great way of inhabiting the role because there’s nothing like having – or putting an axe in someone’s head to really sort of feel like you’re in, you know, in the world.
It is an incredible release. I mean, we do – like you say – in answer to your question for me it’s brilliant that we get the opportunity to do an intimate, you know, scene talking about the future of our relationship and our lives. And then you counterpoint that in the same episode with putting a machete in someone’s head who was a direct threat to the group, in my opinion.
You know, this is the joy of the show that you turn up to work and you have no idea what is in store there for you in the day. And a lot of credit has to go to the people who play the walkers; these incredible stuntmen that get kicked and stabbed. And I stuck a knife in one of these – the one when I ripped the mask off. And it wasn’t really – it was a dummy knife but I stuck it so close to him it sort of went in his mouth at one point. And I had to apologize. But he was fine and he didn’t get hurt.
But they throw themselves around like we do as well. And it’s play; it’s such good fun. It’s wild. And when it goes, when the energy goes and it clicks and you feel the energy from the camera crew filming it as well and capturing it it’s one of the most exciting parts of the job. Certainly the action sequences I love because it is – it’s such a dexterous things. It’s about hitting marks and selling ideas. And yet in – and sort of filling it with this raw kind of emotion.
And also credit has to go to Victor as well who’s our special effects whiz-kid who’s on set all the time. And he’s the one – if he gives you the nod it means that you’ve stabbed a zombie correctly, which is always one of the most satisfying nods on an action day when Victor gives you the nod.
The look of the show in terms of the prison is way darker than anything we saw like even on (Hershel)’s farm until like the very last episode. And from what we’ve seen of Woodbury it looks almost like Mayberry. Can you talk a little bit about the look and design that went into this season and how we’ve got kind of these weird mirrors that our heroes are in the darker world.
Gale Anne Hurd: Absolutely. You know, I think that’s what’s interesting as well about the underlying comic book that inspired the look of this season, which is the – our group when – especially when – especially Rick and Daryl first encounter the prison I loved the shot of Rick looking at it.
And you can see the light bulb go off that this place, you know, surrounded by barbed wire essentially meant to keep people in that once it’s cleared it will be effective in keeping the walkers and potentially, you know, the bad guys out.
You know, that shows you how much things have changed. They’ve spent these intervening months looking for a safe haven. And with the birth of, you know, the baby imminent they need to find – they need to find a place where they can settle and create some semblance of safety.
And one of the – and one of the notes given to Grace Walker, the Production Designer this season, was, you know, imagine that the people at home watching, you know, not only have, you know, get to see sort of the dark tones, the dirt, you know, the grime but almost as if there’s smell-o-vision, you know what I mean?
It really needs to be a place that only people in these desperate straights would look at as home and be able to make a home from. You know, at the same time you’ve got the Governor, you know, and, you know, he’s much luckier. And, you know, and we’ll see if he’s smarter.
And being able to transform Woodbury, which we’ll see, you know, later on in the season, into a place that, you know, that is a town. We actually shoot it in the town of Senoia in Georgia south of Atlanta.
And, you know, and he’s been – he’s trying to recreate civilization with a greater sense of normalcy where people can live in homes, where there can be shops, where people can be safe because they’re almost living in a medieval walled city but one that has that feeling of Mayberry.
You know, and what will people be like? You know, what will humanity be like if they can relax for a little while and not worry about, you know, when the next attack is coming.